Despite what documentaries like March Of The Penguins would have you believe, life for a penguin isn’t all perishing-in-the-wind, icy drama – at least in Happy Feet, anyway.
For here, we learn that cute cuddly penguins find their soul mate by singing to them (preferably disco and pop songs), and life in the chilly wastelands is actually one big rave as the males and females get their groove on in the hope of finding everlasting love.
One such couple is Memphis (voiced by Jackman) and Norma Jean (Kidman), whose musical union leads to the birth of Mumbles (Wood). However, Mumbles can’t sing at all, but he does love to tap-dance. This doesn’t go down well with the penguin elders, however, so the poor grey and white ball of fuzz is ostracised from the entire penguin group, leading him on an adventure into the wilderness that bizarrely manages to touch upon the mystical, the environmental and the moralistic sides of life (as well as giving Robin Williams the chance to overact in two separate vocal performances).
Little ones may not get the eco-message (let’s not overfish the Antarctic oceans, pollution is bad) but will be charmed by the song-and-dance numbers (including Jackman and Kidman performing Prince’s ‘Kiss’), Mumble’s exciting adventures and the stunning animation which makes the penguins look realistic yet still huggable. And boy, that penguin can dance…
Is Happy Feet suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Mumble is threatened by a group of scary birds, which may scare the under-6s.
A chase involving a leopard seal may also frighten the very young.
SPOILER! Towards the end, Mumble is captive in a zoo and obviously very depressed, which may upset children.